Clayton Leroy Howard, 81, of Montana, formerly of Newport, passed away Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, at St. Joseph Medical Center in Polson, Mont.
His graveside service is at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 30 at Amariah Garner Cemetery in Newport.
Clayton was born Aug. 2, 1938, in Newport. He was the son of Moses Clayton and Jessie Lee Simmons Howard. He attended schools in Newport and graduated from Newport Consolidated High School in 1956. In 1961, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged in 1963. Clayton worked as an installer for the telephone company, a pipe fitter for a nuclear plant and, later in life, owned and operated a used car lot and storage units in Springfield, Ga., from which he retired.
Clayton married Virginia Nance, and they spent more than 35 years together before she passed away. One thing they enjoyed was RVing all over the country and spending their winters in Arizona. On one of their trips while in Montana, they went over Polson Hill and saw Flathead Lake. Clayton said, “Virginia, I think this is where we’ll retire.” They purchased property and made Montana their home.
After Virginia’s passing, Clayton would visit family and friends in North Carolina. It was on one of these trips he was reacquainted with a former classmate, Justine Henderson, while at their class reunion. They later married and were able to spend four years together until Clayton’s passing.
Clayton was a true animal lover. He always had a soft spot in his heart for his animals, which included many horses, dogs and cats.
Clayton is survived by his wife, Justine Blizzard-Howard; sister, Barbara Howard Biggerstaff of Newport; brother, Larry Howard and wife Sharon of Newport; step-son, James Nance of California; step-son and daughter-in-law; and step-daughter and son-in-law; as well as nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Virginia Howard; and son, Ron Howard.
Arrangements are by Munden Funeral Home and Crematory in Morehead City. Family and friends are welcome to submit online condolences at www.mundenfuneralhome.net.